Why a Naked Man Shaving His Head in the Steam Room is a Leadership Problem

By | November 24, 2014

Kool Derby

I was recently in the steam room of the fitness room where I workout, and I noticed that a naked man with a razor began to shave his head. There were several of us in the room, and a few stared at him as he violated the policy. This particular fitness facility has private areas for men and women gym-goers.

On the door of the steam room, the following message is prominently displayed:

NO SHAVING IN THE STEAM ROOM

The Management Team

The shaving took nearly five minutes, and it seemed that he would never finish. At one point, he stood up, and I thought he was leaving the room. Instead, he performed a few weird stretching exercises (still naked), sat back down, and continued the shaving exercise.

Were We Delinquent for Staying Quiet?

None of us in the steam room reminded the man that shaving in the steam room was not allowed. It was clearly stated on the door. Even if it were not noted, one would think that someone would remind the individual about the potential hygiene issue.

I decided to stay quiet, and so did the other three men in the room. Is it my job to make this person aware that he is violating the policy, and that he must stop?

Let’s consider how this conversation might happen:

Me: Sir, are you aware of the policy stating that we are not to shave in the steam room?

Naked Shaving Man: Yeah. It won’t do any harm.

Me: I think that it causes a hygiene problem. It might be best if you shave in the sink.

Naked Shaving Man: Why don’t you mind your own business? I can shave here if I want.

Me: I don’t think so!

Naked Shaving Man: What are you going to do about it?
Before you know it, I’m in hot water. I’m not too concerned about physical harm, but I now have a problem that I didn’t have before. From my experience, I don’t think the man is going to acquiesce and admit that he is wrong.

Why this is a Leadership Problem

The notice on the door alone is insufficient. I don’t think we need a fitness police, but we do need someone who can resolve this problem. These violators create an uncomfortable situation for a large majority of customers.

The leadership team is aware of the situation, and should take action to resolve the issue. One recommendation is to increase awareness of the problem, and this is done by leveraging the communication plan (i.e., newsletters, signage, email, and so on).

One might argue that I am overreacting, and perhaps I am. However, leadership must be proactive to resolve these situations before they escalate. A razor might be left in the steam room, which can lead to a safety issue. I also think that gym-goers like me should step up and do our part. I have the option to confront the problem with the violator, or I can report the issue.

What is the likely result if I confront the situation? I will offend a naked man who shouldn’t be shaving his head in the steam room. I guess this is probably one in which I am in the right.

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